NASHVILLE – Free agency in the NFL has nearly gone silent, and now it's full steam ahead for the NFL Draft.
It's almost hard to believe the draft is now less than 10 days away.
Lots of questions continue to roll into the Titans mailbag.
Let's kick off another edition now, but not before wishing good health to everyone out there…
Chad Alexander from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Hello Jim, greetings from Duval County. I see that DL/DE is listed as a top need on lots of sites. Since we play so many snaps in 4-2-5, and with the current players we have. Do you think the need is overrated?
Jim: Hey Chad. I've seen that a lot, too. In the latest mock draft roundup I did on Monday, however, 15 of the 40-plus picks for the Titans in the first round came at offensive tackle. A lot of folks are picking defensive linemen, edge rushers, and cornerbacks as well, and a few of the so-called experts tabbed a running back at No.29. All of those are needs, of course. But the order they come off the board is up for debate. Is the need at DL/DE overrated? I don't think so. Sure, the cupboard isn't bare, but more help is needed.
Reinhard Schiendorfer from Pfäffikon, Switzerland
Question: Hi Jim. I am a bit nervous about the situation at the corner (Logan Ryan, Tye Smith, Tramaine Brock). Is this just poker about salaries or will we surprise the other teams with a 4-3 defense without cornerbacks? Good health to everybody.
Jim: Hi Reinhard. Good to hear from you again. The three guys you mentioned remain free agents, and there's a chance one of them or more could still return. We just need to see what transpires here in the next week or so, especially with the draft. But the Titans definitely need to add players in the secondary. Right now, the team has cornerbacks Malcolm Butler, Adoree' Jackson, Kareem Orr and Chris Milton under contract, along with guys like Kenneth Durden and Joshua Kalu, who could play corner or safety. Not to mention the four true safeties (Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro, Amani Hooker and Dane Cruikshank) on the team. It's thin, especially if you're talking about corners with experience. Believe me, the cornerback position will be addressed.
Cody Milholen from Lexington, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! As a Titans fan who mainly watches college football to scout players for the NFL, I feel like the Titans two biggest needs left are replacing Logan Ryan with a quality nickel corner, and replacing Jurrell Casey and Austin Johnson along the defensive line. I feel like Damon Arnette and Marlon Davidson would be idea candidates, are you allowed to say if the Titans have had any interviews with these prospects?
Jim: Hey Cody. I'm not at liberty to say which guys the team has interviewed, but there's no doubt in my mind a lot of homework is being done on the defensive linemen in the draft.
Douglas Sullins from Johnson City, Tennessee
Question: Dear Jim. Obviously the Titans need an OT, edge, backup RB & backup QB but they are sadly lacking at WR. Davis has proven to be a bust from the time he reported a day late thinking he was God's gift to the Titans through the 2019 season. Sadly Walker is now gone. Rookie Brown was ok but, nothing to write home about. Why haven't the Titans picked up these studs like Diggs, Hopkins & Cooks? Thanks Jim & God bless you.
Jim: Hi Douglas. God bless you as well. But we're going to butt heads here. Corey Davis is not a bust. He's proven to be the best of the first three receivers picked in the 2017 draft, and while his numbers may not be off the charts, he's been productive, and he's been a good blocker in the run game. And you're all wrong about his attitude thinking he's "God's gift to the Titans." Corey is a hard-working guy who respects his teammates and coaches. He hasn't complained when footballs haven't come to him, and he's been more than willing to take on guys blocking. If rookie Brown "was ok but nothing to write home about," what are you going to write home about? That's just a ridiculous comment. And while you're right on Diggs and Hopkins being studs, you're also putting Cooks in that same category? Well, Cooks had 42 catches for 583 yards and two touchdowns in a pass-first offense with the Rams in 2019. Corey Davis, the guy you just called a bust, had 43 catches for 601 yards and two TDs last year in a run-first offense.
Jack Warren from Calabasas, California
Question: Getting away from current topics, who do you think is the Titans all time "One that got away"? I think back to Pre-Season games in 2010 when LeGarrette Blount was running over defenders. Inexplicably, he was waived and FO later said "We'd hoped to sign him to the practice squad..." CJ's 2010 season was good, 1300+ yds but I remember a LOT of 1-2yd runs for every 50+yd home run. And in 2011, CJ held out, got paid 4/$53M and scored only 4 TD's that season. Ya think maybe the Titans wish they'd signed Blount to a cheap contract in 2010 and released CJ in 2011 instead of paying him? Thanks for all you do!
Jim: Oh man. This is a good one Jack. And you're right about Blount. He had a heck of a career, and in hindsight the team should've held onto him. As for the one that got away, well, I'll go with Aaron Rodgers – and I'm sure a lot of teams would say that. If the Titans had picked Rodgers with the fifth overall pick in 2005 instead of Pacman Jones, well, they wouldn't have used top 10 picks on QBs Vince Young (2006), Jake Locker (2011) and Marcus Mariota (2015), and they could've addressed other positions. Of course, if the Titans would've picked Rodgers in 2005, they also wouldn't have been picking the third, eighth, and second those years either…
Josh Tiano from Ankeny, Iowa
Question: Hi Jim, long time reader first time writer. Love your feedback on these mailbag. My future wife and I go to a Titans game every year around my birthday in November. Anyway my question is, what do you think of the Titans going for A.J. Epenesa in the draft if available? I feel he is the same type of player as Casey was for us and I may be a bit bias being one of the few Titan fans from Iowa (thanks to my step dad) but I love the work ethic of my boys from the Hawks. Just like longtime Hawkeye and Titan Karl Klug. Whose jersey I wear to every game I see in Nashville. Thanks again and Titan up.
Jim: Hey Josh. I like what I've heard about Epenesa – in addition to being a really good player, I like his work ethic and attitude as well. He'd also fill a need on the team. I'm not ruling this out. Another Karl Klug? Sign me up!
Ken Walters from Heidelberg, Mississippi
Question: Hi Jim, I think the Vrabel / J-Rob combo has done an excellent job creating a winner. Last year's draft was absolutely a homerun. Antonio Gibson(rb/wr), Neville Gallimore (dt), Troy Pride jr (cb), and Jason Strowbridge (dL) are some favs of mine. Jim do you think any of these players would fit with the Titans or do you have any draft crushes that fit Tennessee?
Jim: Hey Ken. Some intriguing selections there. I must say I have some favorites myself heading into this year's draft, but I don't get a pick… 😊
David Saavedra from El Paso, Texas
Question: Hey there Jim! Hope you're doing well in these times! I just wanted to ask you a quick question involving the running back situation. I know Henry of course is #1 but since we released Lewis we need a #2 back. So ignoring what possible RBs we could get in the draft, is there any chance that either Dawkins or Mcnichols could get the opportunity? Both were pretty good in my eyes as strong and fast in the preseason. Dawkins should up fairly nice in New Orleans games and seems pretty compatible with our running the ball style as well as he is a pretty good stand-in for Henry when he needs a break. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
Jim: Hey David. Thanks. Hope all is well with you as well. The team definitely needs a No.2 back, and I think it will upgrade on Dion Lewis. Ken just asked me about my favorites, and while I'm not going to list them all, I really like Ke'Shawn Vaughn out of Vanderbilt. He'd be a great complement to Derrick Henry. As for Dawkins and McNichols, well, Dawkins is still around and will be given a chance, and McNichols is no longer in the mix. He was cut after camp last year and he's now with the Jaguars. I think the team will take a running back in the draft, it's just a matter of when.
Have a great week everyone!
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.